Position Statement – 2016
S.1251-A (Peralta) / A.4311-A
New York State DREAM Act
The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) supports the New York State DREAM Act. WBASNY recognizes the moral imperative for this legislation as well as its long-term fiscal benefits. New York invests time and money in the K-12 education of all of its residents. But we curtail that investment if we deprive undocumented students, who tend to come from low-income or economically disadvantaged homes, of the financial means to successfully complete a higher education. Individuals with college degrees have a greater earning capacity than those that do not). Moreover, increasing the affordability of college decreases drop-out rates. New York’s tax revenues will increase over time as more students obtain higher degrees. These long-term benefits inure to all New Yorkers. Through President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, many undocumented students have and will become eligible to work (albeit with their immigration status unchanged) but will not qualify for jobs requiring college or graduate degrees if they are not given the assistance they need to afford a higher education.
WBASNY supports the DREAM Act as proposed in S.1251 (Peralta) and A.4311-A (Moya) which requires undocumented students to attend high school for 2 years and graduate therefrom, or attend a GED program and obtain a GED, within 5 years of applying to college in order to qualify for State financial aid.
The DREAM Act also creates a privately-funded scholarship fund for undocumented students. It allows undocumented students to qualify for in-county tuition rates at community colleges and save for college by opening college savings accounts.
WBASNY supports the passage of the DREAM Act in order to get immediate financial aid assistance to qualifying undocumented students.